Tag Archives: US Department of Defense

How to Play the Game

A SpaceX Falcon rocket lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May , 2017 to boost a classified spy satellite into orbit for the U.S. military, then turned around and touched down at a nearby landing pad.

It was the 34th mission for SpaceX, but its first flight for the Department of Defense, a customer long-pursued by company founder Elon Musk. The privately owned SpaceX once sued the Air Force over its exclusive launch services contract with United Launch Alliance (ULA), a partnership of Lockheed-Martin and Boeing.)  The liftoff of a classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) officially broke ULA’s 10-year monopoly on launching U.S. military and national security satellites.

In addition to the NRO’s business, SpaceX has won two Air Force contracts to launch Global Positioning System satellites in 2018 and 2019.  For now, the military’s business is a fraction of more than 70 missions, worth more than $10 billion, slated to fly on SpaceX rockets. But with up to 13 more military satellite launches open for competitive bidding in the next few years and ULA’s lucrative sole-source contract due to end in 2019, SpaceX is angling to become a majo launch service provider to the Department of Defense.

A month ago, SpaceX for the first time launched one of its previously flown rockets to send an SES communications satellite into orbit, a key step in Musk’s quest to demonstrate reusability and slash launch costs.

Excertps, SpaceX Launches US Spy Satellite on Secret Mission, Nails Rocket Landing, Space.com, May 1, 2017

Bitcoin Technology and the US Military

The United States Department of Defense and DARPA [seek to establish] a secure messaging system that can provide repudiation or deniability, perfect forward and backward secrecy, time to live/self delete for messages, one time eyes only messages, a decentralized infrastructure to be resilient to cyber-attacks, and ease of use for individuals in less than ideal situations….The messaging platform will transfer messages via a secure decentralized protocol that will be secured across multiple channels, including but not limited to: 1) Transport protocol, 2) Encryption of messages via various application protocols, 3) Customized blockchain implementation of message deconstruction and reconstruction, and decentralized ledger implementation

Excerpts from SBIR.defense business. org

In-Q-Tel and DOD: Opera to find needles in haystack

U.S. Department of Defense, August 21, 2013, Contracts, Air Force

Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), McLean, Va., and Signal
Innovations Group (SIG) Inc.*, Durham, N.C. are being awarded
indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts for Object Physics for
Exploitation and Recognition (OPERA) to obtain the capability to isolate and
model physical mechanisms responsible for exploitation performance earlier in
the exploitation development process.  Work will be performed at McLean, Va.,
and Durham, N.C., and is expected to be completed by Aug. 21, 2020.

Excerpt From the Department of Defense Website 

The Signal Innovations Group is supported by In-Q-Tel,  the technology arm of the CIA

What can Signal Innovations Group do for the Air Force?

From Website of Signal Innovations Group

The success of military objectives and the safety of military personnel depend on the ability to detect, classify, and identify harmful objects of interest, such as military vehicles, land and sea mines, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).  Since World War II, mines have damaged more U.S. Naval vessels than all other threats combined.  Roadside bombs and other IEDs are the single greatest threat to currently deployed coalition forces, and IEDs have been responsible for almost 40% of U.S. casualties in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

For decades, the U.S. military has been integrating advanced radar and sonar sensor systems on airborne and undersea platforms to aide in the detection, classification, and identification of air, ground, and underwater targets.  Recent growth in the development and deployment of unmanned systems, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs), has greatly expanded the utility of multiple sensor modalities (radar, sonar, Electro-Optical (EO)/Infrared (IR) Sensors) and the quantity of collected sensor data.  Human analysts are often tasked with manually examining sensor data.  However, the overwhelming volume of data exceeds the limited available human resources, and performance is often unreliable due to human fatigue and distraction.  Therefore, automated real-time sensor processing techniques are required to reliably detect and discriminate targets of interest while minimizing the number of false alarms.  The success of automated techniques depends on the sensor system, the observed background objects, and environmental conditions, all of which can influence the performance of automated systems.  SIG has developed advanced statistical data modeling and inference techniques that accurately and efficiently detect and discriminate targets in sensor data.  By maintaining a probabilistic framework, SIG’s predictive modeling capabilities produce more meaningful and useful results than typical discrimination strategies.  Model uncertainty can be quantified to determine if additional data is necessary, decision-making is aided by confidence values associated with target declarations, and model components and values can be probabilistically combined.  As data is collected, SIG’s techniques are capable of adapting to changes in sensors and environmental conditions, as well as exploit all available data regardless of whether object identifications are known.

SIG’s target recognition software suite offers a combination of state-of-the-art detection, classification, and identification techniques that can be tailored to any application space.  The software contains multiple statistical data models within a flexible and modular architecture that is readily optimized for any sensor modality, including the fusion of multiple sensors.  The software can be configured for onboard integration with manned or unmanned platforms to provide real-time processing or delivered as stand-alone modules to support analysts and post-mission objectives.

Beyond GPS: DARPA All Source Positioning and Navigation Program

DARPA’s All Source Positioning and Navigation (ASPN) program seeks to enable low cost, robust, and seamless navigation solutions for military users on any operational platform and in any environment, with or without GPS. In particular, ASPN will develop the architectures,  abstraction methods, and navigation filtering algorithms needed for rapid integration and reconfiguration of any combination of sensors. This will enable rapid adaptation to evolving missions as well as reduction of the system integration costs and time-to-market for navigation solutions in general.

The goal of Phase 2 of ASPEN is to address the issues of optimization and real-time operation, showing capabilities beyond basic plug-and-play flexibility. Solutions must be capable of adapting to a diverse set of sensor and IMU inputs and selectively choosing the subset of measurements that produces the best possible solution, ideally mirroring the result from a tuned filter solution for that same scenario….Phase 2 solutions will need to demonstrate real-time operation in representative field (non-laboratory) environments. Although adaptability is the main goal of the ASPN program, the possibility of ASPN accuracy being substantially better than current state of art should be considered, given accommodation by ASPN of larger and more diverse sensor suites, ease of optimizing ASPN to immediate applications, and potential synergistic benefits of an open architecture.